Garcia taking new approach at spring training

New York Yankees pitcher Freddy Garcia is taking a new approach

at spring training.

The 34-year-old righty says he needs to throw well to win one of

two open spots in the Yankees’ rotation.

”I didn’t really pitch good in the past,” Garcia said Friday.

”This year has to be different. Hopefully, this year I pitch

better than I used to in spring training. I’ve got to fight to make

the team.”

The two-time All-Star went 12-6 with a 4.64 ERA in 28 starts for

the Chicago White Sox last season. He signed a minor league

contract with the Yankees in the offseason that could be worth up

to $5.1 million. It also lets Garcia opt out by late March.

”That’s why I’m here (to win a job),” Garcia said. ”If you

don’t think of it that way, don’t be here.”

Garcia has a career record of 133-87 in 12 seasons with Seattle,

Philadelphia, Detroit and the White Sox.

Garcia, Ivan Nova, Bartolo Colon and Sergio Mitre are in the mix

for the rotation openings behind CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Phil

Hughes. Left-hander Andy Pettitte retired during the winter.

”These spots are going to have to be earned, that’s the bottom

line,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.

Garcia bounced back from three injury-interrupted seasons to

pitch well for the White Sox last season. The Yankees got a

close-up look at him when he threw seven impressive innings to beat

them in Chicago on Aug. 27.

”I’m feeing good. I’m feeling 100 percent,” Garcia said. ”I

know how to be more prepared and concentrating more.”

Garcia enjoyed successful, durable years early in his career

with Seattle. He went 17-8 as a rookie in 1999 and was 18-6 with an

AL-leading 3.05 ERA and 238 2-3 innings in 2001. He was an All-Star

for Seattle in 2001 and 2002.

In seven of his first eight seasons, Garcia made at least 30

starts and pitched at least 200 innings.

Garcia won a total of five games for the Phillies, Tigers and

White Sox from 2007-09 before showing flashes of his old self last

year.

Notes: RHP Joba Chamberlain increased his bullpen workload to 47

pitches. … Eighth-inning man Rafael Soriano is set to throw off

the mound next week. The Yankees have both Soriano and closer

Mariano Rivera utilizing a slower approach in spring training.

Rivera’s first bullpen will come sometime after Soriano’s initial

session. … Saturday is reporting day for position players. The

first full squad workout is Sunday.